By Kendall Harshberger
On Oct. 14, both sophomore and juniors will take the PSAT, but since only juniors can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program, some sophomores, like Kelsey Curran, wonder about why they take the test this year at all.
“I don’t really think that the PSAT is all that important if we’re just going to be taking it next year,” Curran said.
Junior Sarah Knapik said she didn’t think much of the PSAT as a sophomore either. “I walked into class having no idea what the test was over,” she said via e-mail. “Some of my class had already studied over the summer, which I thought was a little ridiculous.”
Assistant Principal Ronda Eshleman said sometimes students do think the PSAT isn’t important as sophomores. Still, Eshleman said that the test does have its benefits.
“One of the great things about taking the PSAT is that after taking it each student receives a personalized study guide for the SAT,” she said.
The sections of the PSAT include critical reading, mathematics and writing. If a junior receives a certain score on all of these areas, they may be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
But even if a student isn’t a finalist or a junior, according to Eshleman, the PSAT scores can still help in other scholarship areas.
In addition, testing as a sophomore can help build experience for when the junior testing day comes and National Merit status is on the line, according to Eshleman. When testing day comes, Knapik said that she is planning to be more prepared.
She said, “After receiving a terrible score last year, I realized how important it’s going to be this year. This year I’m hoping to do much better on it.”